Perry school

By Michele Gruba


BELVIDERE – The excitement was in the air Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 25, at Perry School’s Parent, Teacher, Child Organization (PTCO) annual ice cream social.

Students, staff and parents filled the lawn anxiously awaiting the arrival of Jody Dahlseng, the principal at Perry School, to kick things off by taking her place atop the dunk tank.

At the end of last school year, students were given a contract and asked to read at least fifteen books or attend Tuesdays at ten in the garden at least five times over the summer at Perry School. To keep students excited and engaged during summer break, Dahlsang collaborates with staff to offer these student incentives.

“I need to stress the role of teachers promoting summer reading in their class and returning their contracts.  It is a long time to remember that contract! We are constantly brainstorming ways to keep our students reading throughout the summer.  The “Tuesdays at Ten” in the garden have helped as we have book readings and a book exchange,” Dhalsang said.

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Thirty-three students returned their contracts completing the summer reading challenge, each earning three chances to send Principal Dhalsang plunging into the tank. Keeping up her end of the bargain, dressed as Super Girl she ascended into position.

In her own words, “If you have to take a plunge you might as well do it as a superhero!”

Her costume mirrored how the Perry School community feels about their leader. The admiration could be seen on the children’s faces as well as heard in cheers and applause as Dhalseng stood with her guitar and began leading the school song.

This is not the first year the staff at Perry School have gotten creative and taken one for the team in the spirit of inspiring student achievement.

“This is our fourth year with the dunk tank. Last year we did a pie in the face and the ice bucket challenge, just to do something different.  We went back to the dunk tank again because the students seem to really enjoy the summer reading portion but also the opportunity to dunk teachers at the ice cream social. The superhero costume was new this year but kind of fun, ” Dhalsang said.

After the conclusion of the school song, she took her seat and the dunking began. It was clear that in addition to keeping their reading skills sharp these students also practiced pitching because Dhalsang did not stay dry for long.

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The PTCO closed out the day by serving ice cream.

After school, several teachers volunteered to take turns in the dunk tank giving students the opportunity to dunk their favorite teacher. For $1, students got three tries to raise money for the PTCO, who organizes events to benefit the entire Perry family throughout the year.

According to Daisy Mathison, the PTCO President, “Perry school PTCO is about bringing parents, teachers and the community together. Together we can make great changes!”

When asked about the positive energy that could be felt walking the halls at Perry School and during the days activities,  Dhalsang’s words captured student life at Perry accurately.

“I believe the positive energy comes from students and staff who really love being at Perry School.  Being a neighborhood school and small in numbers, we get to know each other, our students, and families rather well, Dhalsang said.

“Kids love to see their teachers involved in any activity.  We have a great staff who will do just about anything for their students. Come to Perry. You will hear laughter, see cooperation, and feel an underlying urgency and desire to succeed in life.”

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